From The Other Side is a weekly links post, hopefully, giving you an inside look at LSU's upcoming opponent each Sunday based on reports from that team's beat writers.
After opening up the season with its first non-conference loss in 14 years – the first under Les Miles – LSU heads back to Baton Rouge for its home opener against FCS opponent Jacksonville State.
But JSU is no cupcake. After forcing overtime on the road against Auburn in Week 2 last season, the Gamecocks marched to the FCS National Championship Game with a 13-1 record, ultimately falling to No. 2 North Dakota State, 37-10.
This season, JSU is the third-ranked team in the FCS and is coming off a season-opening win against North Alabama. You may recognize their running back and one of their wide receivers.
The Anniston Star
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- Coupled with a stout defensive front, Roc Thomas’ three touchdowns propelled the Gamecocks to a 31-12 victory against North Alabama. Quarterback Eli Jenkins chewed up most of the yardage, running for 101 yards and a touchdown and completing 20 of 34 passes for 230 yards.
- You remember Thomas, right? The former five-star recruit and Auburn running back who transferred to JSU over the summer? After a leg injury early last season hampered his playing time at Auburn, he’s starting to love the game again in a new home.
- Wide receiver Josh Barge, who has broken records in his time at JSU, didn’t play against North Alabama. His teammates picked up the slack.
- There’s another name on the Gamecocks roster you might recall. Kevin Spears, the Holy Cross product and former LSU wide receiver, is now a JSU pass catcher and has two years of eligibility left. With the full support of Miles, the former Tiger special teamer found a perfect match with an FCS team.
- Even FCS schools have Australian punters. The Gamecock’s Aussie is 27 years old and already has a bachelors degree.
- After running through the FCS playoffs, the Gamecocks got a “taste” of the national championship last season but coach John Grass feels his team didn’t play its best football. With Jenkins, a preseason FCS All-American, returning for another year and Thomas reuniting with his high school coach, JSU’s expectations are as high as possible.
Jacksonville State's Official Athletic Website
- JSU assistant athletic director for broadcasting Mike Parris interviews Gamecocks offensive lineman Nick Johnson about rebounding from injury last season, approaching his senior year, offensive line coach Kevin Revis and more.
- Chris Allen Brown, The Anniston Star
- Joe Medley, The Anniston Star
- Mark Edwards, The Anniston Star
- Cheryl Wray, AL.com